Brain tumours are the most life-disrupting trouble of human beings. Usually, it is accompanied by extreme headaches, vertigo, personality changes, and balance problems. It is unpredictable. Even benign brain tumours can be deadly if not treated in time. The important reason that makes brain tumours more dangerous is its location. As every part of the brain is relevant, significant and useful, tumour in any part of the brain has significant potential for causing some harm to the patient. As the brain lives within the skull so there is no place for any kind of expansion.
A brain tumour is a growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Tumours start from other body parts and later spread to the brain are known as malignant (metastatic) brain tumours. Malignant tumours or Cancerous tumours are rapidly growing and aggressive. While on the other side, benign tumours are slow-growing and non-aggressive.
A few types of brain tumours are as follows:-
- Acoustic neuroma
- Brain metastases
- Choroid plexus carcinoma
- Embryonal tumours
- Paediatric brain tumours
- Pituitary tumours
Signs and symptoms of a brain tumour depend on its size, place, and rate of growth. Few symptoms are as follows:-
- Headache with different patterns
- Headache with severe pain and frequent
- Vomiting and Nausea
- Vision-related problems (blurred vision double vision and weak peripheral vision)
- Loss of sensation or movement in an arm and leg
- Unable to maintain the body balance
- Speech difficulties
- Behaviour and personality changes
- Hearing issues
Few treatments are as follows:-
1. Surgery: During surgery, the tumour among some healthy tissues can be removed (this procedure called a craniotomy). Removal of a tumour can improve the neurological symptom, provides tissues for further diagnosis, and helps in the effective treatment of other tumours. A neurosurgeon has a specialization in the brain and spinal column surgery. Some methods are being used in surgery are as follows:
- Cortical mapping helps the doctor to identify the brain areas that control senses, speech, and motor skills.
- Enhanced imaging devices give tools to the doctor that helps them to locate the tumour very accurately to plan and perform surgery. E.g. Image-Guided Surgery (IGS). Although it is a very specialized technique and it is not widely available.
- Aminolaevulinic acid or fluorescent dye can be given to the patient on the morning of the surgery’s day. This dye gets absorbed by the tumour cells then the doctor may use special microscopes and light to see the tumour cells. Then remove safely with precision.
In surgery, some part of the skull gets removed. Once the surgery gets completed then some part of a patient’s bone is used to cover the skull.
2. Radiation Therapy: The use of high-energy X-Ray to destroy tumour cells is known as Radiation Therapy. To slow or stop the growth of brain tumour radiation therapy can be used. Specialized doctors for radiation therapy for the tumour are known as a radiation oncologist. External-beam radiation therapy is the most common type of radiation treatment that is given outside of the body from a machine. When radiation treatment is given by implants, it is called internal radiation therapy or Brachytherapy. A few types of external radiation therapy are as follows.
- Conventional radiation therapy.
- 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT).
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
- Proton therapy.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma Knife, CyberKnife, and Modified linear accelerator).
- Fractionated stereotactic radiation therapy.
3. Medication therapies: Medication therapies can be used some time to treat tumour cells. The Bloodstream is used for this treatment. Neuro-oncologists and medical oncologists are specialized for tumour treatment by medication therapies. Chemotherapy and Targeted therapy are types of medication therapies.
In most of the cases of the primary brain tumours, the cause of the tumour is not clear. But there are some factors which may increase the risk of it.
- Exposure to any kind of radiation.
- Family history of brain tumours.